I’ve been having fun gearing up for the release in February of my book about a remarkable female athlete, so it was fun this week to find other books about strong women and men.
Long-Armed Ludy is about the 1922 women’s shot-put world record holder, Lucile (Ludy) Godbold. I loved the folksy, fun-to-read-aloud voice in this book: “When Lucy set off for Winthrop Colleg ein 1917, she was six feet tall and skinnier than a Carolina pine. In fact, if she turned sideways, you’d think she had disappeared. But you could always spot Lucy on the athletic field…sprintin’…scorin’…cheerin’…supportin’…” The story tells not only of her remarkable athletic prowess but also of her struggle against poverty and how friends and classmates made it possible for her to attend the 1922 Women’s Games with their financial contributions. It’s a story with a lot of heart. We see Lucy practicing and working to perfect her skill, we see her sacrificing the chance to eat tasty French pastries, and we see her worrying about her capabilities. I loved learning about her!
Strong As Sandow is set just a few years earlier and tells the story of Eugen Sandow and how he came to be the most famous strong-man on earth. The book is divided into sections, each headed by a bold-faced title that gives both the setting and the years. It’s a great way to help kids the structure of the book (and would help easily create class projects–giving groups of kids each a section of the book). I loved learning the story of how Sandow worked to develop his muscles, even when he faced parental displeasure and physical illness. Maybe my very favorite part of the book, though, was the back matter. There, Don Tate talks about the problems he faced in evaluating sources he used to research the book (Sandow was “a manufacturer of his own story”) and he tells his own personal story of how he became a weight-lifter. There’s a great photo of Sandow and an equally great one of Don Tate, the weightlifter. There is also, of course, a set of suggested exercises for kids.
Hooray for books about athletes!
Long-Armed Ludy and the First Women’s Olympics by Jean L. S. Patrick. Charlesbridge: 2017.
Strong as Sandow: How Eugen Sandow Became the Strongest Man on Earth by Don Tate. Charlesbridge: 2017.